Many people often ask me what would be a suitable trip for someone coming from lower elevation. A trip that really shows off some of the best parts of Colorado. The Lost Creek Wilderness is my favorite place for early or late season backpacks.
There are two lovely loops I always suggest. The first is a 26 mile loop. If someone wants a more challenging/longer route, there is this 36 mile loop I also recommend. Both loops show off unique rock formations, great views and meander through open meadows. Highly suggested!
On this weekend, I had to work Saturday and was not esp. pleased. Three day weekends are precious…and to miss a day, well, put me in less than a satisfactory mood. 🙂
Instead of moping around Boulder, I decided to hike a solo trip in the LCW.
My trip for this weekend was a 36 mile loop. I figured it was still about two weeks early; but I really wanted to get in a good backpacking trip.
Lost Creek Wilderness is well known for its unique (for Colorado) rock formations. The rocks always remind me of the wet sand I would slowly drip from my hand by the beach. The LCW also posses many wide and open meadows with views to the higher peaks to the south and west.
My route had me go over the Hankins Pass, Lake Park to Bison Pass back to the Goose Creek area via the Wigwam Trail.
As predicted, I was a touch early for this trip. There was still some route finding issues and lots of snow. At one point, I decided to hike over a ridge and bushwhack to a trail rather trying to find a trail through the snow.
Once I made it to the McCurdy/Bison peak area, the nature of the route changed. The red rock formations were in evidence with awesome and wide open views. One memorable moment had me looking towards Pikes Peak in the distance.
As I walked along the ridge, I continued to admire and look upon in awe at the scenery surrounding me. This area really is one of the gems of Colorado backpacking.
The day was difficult. Between route finding, the post holing, off trail travel and frankly not being in my prime thru-hiker shape (but doing a thru-hiker pace and thru-hiker mileage), my body was tired. I found a clear spot among the snow and before a creek crossing. I placed my sleeping pad down, ate my macaroni and cheese and and caught up on some much needed sleep.
The following day would be easier. I knew from looking at my map that my route would be following a series of creeks and would be at a lower elevation.
The morning was simply stunning. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, no clouds and warm sunshine. I walked along an open meadow for most of the morning and did not see a soul. The peaks in the distance were covered in snow and showed in stark detail how Summer will be coming late to the Colorado high country.
As I meandered along my route, I came back to the popular Goose Creek Trail. If for most of yesterday and all of this morning I was in splendid isolation, this trail reminded me that it was indeed a three-day weekend in Colorado. But this trail is wonderful to walk on. With more incredible views of the rock formations below.
In late afternoon, I arrived back to the Mag Wag. I sadly left the wilderness to return back home.
It was not the weekend I planned, but it was rewarding. More backpacking trips will be done and savored this coming season. So many places to go, so many places to explore, so many places to enjoy. I can’t wait to see them!
ALL THE PHOTOS
What time of the year did you do this? Do you have any recommendations for spring break hiking in Colorado? I’m assuming most mountains will be pretty covered in a lot of snow soon and you might be looking at going south.
This article will answer your questions:
Too early to backpack in the LCW now.
Where are some of your favorite campsites located along the 36 mIle loop? My friend and I are hiking this route June 30 – July 4 and are planning a leisurely pace.
Oops. Nevermind. Just read your “breadcrumbs” post. I’ll discover on my own. 🙂
Hi, quick question….have you backpacked the LCW in early October? I haven’t hiked that area, and the historic weather data looks chilly, but mostly dry. Thoughts?
I have. Good weather. But could also be cold. Have a backup plan and you should be fine.
Hey, I thanked you via email, but wanted to say thanks again. Great posts and really appreciate your response.
This old man is looking forward to it!